Online IP Filing Portals – a boon or a trap
In recent years, the use of online platforms, social media and use of AI has increased tremendously in almost all sorts of businesses. The legal profession is not left out from this.
Generally, any entrepreneur or business entity looking forward to avail legal services including that of IPR, meets an advocate or an attorney discusses the aspects of its IP horizon and portfolio. The entrepreneur gets to measure the acumen of the advocate / attorney in providing the services sought by the entrepreneur. This builds a level of trust and confidence of an entrepreneur / business upon the advocate/attorney. An advocate being a responsible professional is bound by the work ethics, code of conduct and rules of Bar council and is thus answerable to the clients with regards to the legal advice provided by it.
The advent of Internet revolution has led to meteoric rise in the ONLINE WEBSITE platforms which offers to file the Trademark, Copyright, Design, Patent Registrations, prosecution, applications in IPAB (IP Appellate Board) and even consultation for Infringement actions to be taken in court of law till Supreme Court.
These platforms even offer interesting and eye catchy offers like:
- 2 TM registration at the cost of 1.
- Only Government fees on TM / Copyright Registration without any legal / professional charges.
- Get Patent registration and pay in EMI.
- Free IP consultation and So on.
But have you ever considered that such attractive looking schemes are mere eye wash and you may end up spending money for nothing. Infact you have entrusted your valuable IP registration to an online platform which is being handled by someone whom you don’t know, you have never heard off and you have not even met.
Such entities offer to provide services at free or discounted prices but never foresee the consequences of filing a Trademark application in wrong class or filing a Patent application for the invention which is not even patentable and thus it results in the loss of money and time for the business entities.
Somehow, even if you get the TM or Patent registration, what if you end up receiving the Cease and Desist notice from some competitor, because your ONLINE TM Registration PLATFORM friend who offered you free services did not tell you that there is already an entity with prior TM registration and using the very trademark since long. Such online platform also do not keep a tab over the renewal of the IP registration, since it offered to only apply for registration. Thus your IP registration will probably lapse if not renewed in time.
Several such instances have happened with entrepreneurs who have fallen for the illustrious schemes of ONLINE IP FILING WEBSITES, viz. Certain online IP service portal offered to file a PATENT APPLICATION for a miniscule fee and filed a Patent application for one of the reputed business house with claims at the stage of filing provisional specification. The entire patent application was of total 2 pages which not at all described the patent sufficiently. The said application eventually got rejected for insufficient disclosure of invention, poor drafting and other reasons. Imagine the case where you have invested crores of rupees/dollars behind developing a patentable invention and just because of such ONLINE SCAMS of Patent filing, the entire time, money, resources invested behind the invention got wasted just because you trusted the person sitting across the website which offered you easy, cheap and fast patent filing.
In yet another instance a legitimate business entity filed a trademark application through an ONLINE IP website which offered discounted prices. The said website merely applied for Trademark application that too for wrong class of goods and services than the actual and made the said entity believe that they have got Trademark registration in 4 days. This is nothing but a fraudulent, unfair trade practice of wrongly giving the legal advise to the client.
Thus it is very much important for the business entities, start up, Educational institutions to not fall prey to such schemes, shams and offers provided by Online IP registration services because you cannot trust someone, whom you have never even met. Further, providing such legal services online by offering discounts, promotional offers and schemes is solicitation of legal service is an offense in India and the business entities must not consider legal services pertaining to IP as something of a commodity like FOOD or APPARELS.
IP, today have grown into a valuable asset which drives your business rather than being just an ancillary asset which is just preserved and the business entities must think twice before entrusting the task of protecting the said IP.
Blindly relying upon the ONLINE PORTALS for IP registration can be disastrous for your IP portfolio and your business, as providing advise & counselling for IP registration, drafting, prosecuting, litigating requires great deal of knowledge, acumen and years of experience which can never be replaced by a technologically offered legal service or AI or Software or those person sitting behind such deceptive offers and advertisements.